Death Toll in Pakistan Earthquake Rises to More than 200

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-09_0c315ca590.jpg(Latif Baloch) (ISLAMABAD) -- The number of people who were killed after a massive earthquake struck a remote, rural area in Pakistan on Tuesday has climbed to more than 200.  Hundreds more have also been injured. The quake, which registered at a magnitude of 7.7, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, also created a new island off the country's coastline.

Accounts of the size and shape of the island vary.  Behram Baloch, a resident of the southern port city of Gwadar, describes it as roughly 200 feet long, jutting out from the water roughly a quarter mile from the coastline.

The tremor was felt as far away as India's capital, Delhi, and Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi.  The epicenter was a rural area in Balochistan, Pakistan's biggest but least populated province, bordering Afghanistan and Iran.  The area consists of villages with mostly mud-brick homes and poor to non-existent transportation infrastructure.

Initially, the USGS registered the quake as a 7.4, but quickly changed its assessment.  Within hours of the initial quake, the USGS registered two additional ones, measuring 5.9 and 5.6, both in the same area where the first one struck.

The deputy speaker of the Balochistan Provincial Assembly, Abdul Qadoos, told news agencies he believes at least 30 percent of all houses in Awaran, the village closest to the epicenter, were destroyed.

To help with rescue efforts, the Pakistani army deployed 300 soldiers to the affected area, a number that is expected to rise to 1,000 by Wednesday morning.  The home base for rescue efforts is Khuzdar, one of the regions hard hit by the quake, with a population of more than half a million.

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